How can we see Venus at night here in Maine?

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glassynails
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How can we see Venus at night here in Maine?

Post by glassynails » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:47 am

How come we can see Venus at night if it's between the Sun and us? Wouldn't the Sun have to be somewhere on the other side of the Earth and Venus the opposite side of us to see the light of the Sun reflected off of Venus?

I was curious because he in Maine I see Venus and Mars close to each other each night. So I went to this site http://www.theplanetstoday.com/ to see where the planets were currently in their orbits around the Sun and I see that Venus is opposite the dark side of the Earth. I wondered how can I even see Venus at night if it's opposite the dark side of the Earth?

Thanks :)
"GLASSYNAILS" on Youtoob for my "no edit" - "no fakery" audio recordings. Just me, my Alhambra 7p spruce, and an Olympus ls-10 portable recorder.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: How can we see Venus at night here in Maine?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:31 am

Well, normally you shouldn't expect a lot of accuracy from a picture that small, but in fact you can see that the sun and venus and Earth aren't in syzygy (aren't in a straight line). First the sun sets, then later Venus sets. You can see that from the picture.
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gitgeezer
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Re: How can we see Venus at night here in Maine?

Post by gitgeezer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:11 pm

To get a better view of the relationships (using the illustration you referenced) it helps to imagine yourself standing on different points of the Earth's surface and thinking what you would see from those locations. Imagine yourself standing at the top of the Earth figure, in the illustration, where the sunlit part meets the shadow part. This region, where the day side and night side meet, is called the “terminator” or “twilight zone.” Now imagine moving across the terminator into the night side. You can see that you would soon reach a point where you would no longer see the sun but would still see Venus.

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MikeJay
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Re: How can we see Venus at night here in Maine?

Post by MikeJay » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:02 pm

Venus isn't quite between earth and sun yet so it should be visible -- as a crescent in a telescope. Apparently it will be just in between earth and sun will on March 22. Search for "visible planet guide space.com". There is a nice explanation there. The video there is nice too.

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Re: How can we see Venus at night here in Maine?

Post by BellyDoc » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:30 pm

Venus is never seen in the black of night from anywhere on earth. It's visible at/just after sunset or at/just before dawn, (or not at all) depending on relative positions.

Venus, at most, is about 48 degrees off of a line from earth to sun because it's orbit is inside earth's. That means it will, at most, be visible for about 3 hours before sunrise or after sunset depending on where it is.

It's reflection is bright because it's closer to the sun and cloud covered. You can't tell that you're seeing a partial circle 100% of the time.
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gitgeezer
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Re: How can we see Venus at night here in Maine?

Post by gitgeezer » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:42 am

Three hours after sunset or before sunrise might seem pretty dark. However, the closer it is to the horizon, the more it gets caught up in the horizon's "nightglow."

At any rate, Venus doesn't get very high in the night sky just now--only about 13 degrees. Its orbit is now taking it closer to the Sun-Earth line. By March 15, its maximum height will drop to about 4 degrees, but its magnitude will be at a bright -4.4, so it should still be visible if your view is not obstructed. On March 25, Venus will pass between the Sun and Earth and by the end of the month will start appearing as "the morning star."

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Re: How can we see Venus at night here in Maine?

Post by Wesjr1 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:30 pm

glassynails wrote:How come we can see Venus at night if it's between the Sun and us? Wouldn't the Sun have to be somewhere on the other side of the Earth and Venus the opposite side of us to see the light of the Sun reflected off of Venus?
I was curious because he in Maine I see Venus and Mars close to each other each night. So I went to this site http://www.theplanetstoday.com/ to see where the planets were currently in their orbits around the Sun and I see that Venus is opposite the dark side of the Earth. I wondered how can I even see Venus at night if it's opposite the dark side of the Earth?
Thanks :)
I think you're confused by the expression "between the sun and us". It's more accurate to say that Venus orbits between Earth's orbit and the Sun (it orbits closer to the sun than Earth does). As for your question about its position relative to Earth, remember that the Earth is turning on its axis while moving in its orbit around the Sun, Venus is moving in its orbit around the Sun, and the Sun is moving in it's orbit around the Galaxy, so they're all not going to stay in the same positions relative to each other all the time. Venus does not have to be on the "opposite" side of the Earth for the sun's light to be reflected back from it to us. Watch the phases of the moon. The Moon waxes and wanes according to its positions in relation to the sun and vice-versa. It's lit from one side because the sun is off to one side, not on the direct opposite side of the Earth.
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glassynails
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Re: How can we see Venus at night here in Maine?

Post by glassynails » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:48 am

Wesjr1 wrote:
glassynails wrote:How come we can see Venus at night if it's between the Sun and us? Wouldn't the Sun have to be somewhere on the other side of the Earth and Venus the opposite side of us to see the light of the Sun reflected off of Venus?
I was curious because he in Maine I see Venus and Mars close to each other each night. So I went to this site http://www.theplanetstoday.com/ to see where the planets were currently in their orbits around the Sun and I see that Venus is opposite the dark side of the Earth. I wondered how can I even see Venus at night if it's opposite the dark side of the Earth?
Thanks :)
I think you're confused by the expression "between the sun and us". It's more accurate to say that Venus orbits between Earth's orbit and the Sun (it orbits closer to the sun than Earth does). As for your question about its position relative to Earth, remember that the Earth is turning on its axis while moving in its orbit around the Sun, Venus is moving in its orbit around the Sun, and the Sun is moving in it's orbit around the Galaxy, so they're all not going to stay in the same positions relative to each other all the time. Venus does not have to be on the "opposite" side of the Earth for the sun's light to be reflected back from it to us. Watch the phases of the moon. The Moon waxes and wanes according to its positions in relation to the sun and vice-versa. It's lit from one side because the sun is off to one side, not on the direct opposite side of the Earth.
Thanks for all the info!
"GLASSYNAILS" on Youtoob for my "no edit" - "no fakery" audio recordings. Just me, my Alhambra 7p spruce, and an Olympus ls-10 portable recorder.

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